The MOSE: How Venice Is Protecting Itself against Climate Change

Venice, known as the city of water, has been facing an existential threat from the very foundation that it is built on. Defense against high water coming in from the Venetian lagoon inlets in conjunction with the burden imposed by heavy rain falls on the city have compelled Venice to take measures for some decades now.

The trepidation mostly stems from the 6-feet tall flood of 4th of November 1966 that immersed Venice and the concomitant Florence flood that killed over a hundred people which were most devastating since the 16th century floods. This, however, has been intensified with the increasing ramifications of global climate change trends.

The MOSE project, taking a hint from Moses (Mosè in Italian) splitting the Red Sea into to two, was conceived in 1987 and started in 2003 in the hope that it will be able to shield Venice from the Adriatic Sea’s Acqua alta (Italian for high water) that floods the city every now and then. The project took a leaf out of British and Dutch books who, with the massive Thames Flood Barrier in London and Holland’s Barriers to The Sea (the Maeslant Barrier), are at the helm of warding off the land-eating waters, however, it is still quite innovative in its approach to solving the long-standing Venetian challenge.

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